World Cup: Platini claims ‘trickery’ over 1998 tournament draw
“A little trickery” was employed for the 1998 World Cup draw to ensure France and Brazil did not meet until the final, disgraced former Uefa president Michel Platini has claimed.
The French hosted and won their first World Cup 20 years ago, beating Brazil 3-0 in the final in Paris.
Former France captain Platini was on the tournament’s organising committee.
“When we organised the schedule, we did a little trickery,” he told radio station France Bleu Sport.
“France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone.
“If we finished first in the group and Brazil finished first, we could not meet before the final.”
He laughed as he went on: “We did not spend six years organising the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?”
Brazil and France were the top teams in the Fifa rankings heading into the tournament and were among the eight top-seeded teams.
Two days before the draw took take place, world governing body Fifa announced that holders Brazil would be allocated to Group A while France were in Group C.
It meant that if the two teams finished top they would be on opposite sides of the draw for the knockout stage.
Both made it through to the final at Stade de France where two goals from Zinedine Zidane and another from Emmanuel Petit gave the French a famous victory.
Platini and former Fifa counterpart Sepp Blatter were found guilty in 2015 of ethics breaches over a 2m Swiss Franc (£1.3m) “disloyal payment”.
Platini was given an eight-year ban from all football-related activities – later reduced to four on appeal.
The 62-year-old has always maintained his innocence and in January it was reported he had taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights.